The Seychelles Islands, renowned the world over for their warm, welcoming waters and benign marine environment, is reeling from a second, freak shark attack in its waters in a month. In the most recent incident, a 30-year-old Englishman, Ian Redmond, was attacked in waters off the popular beach of Anse Lazio on Praslin, Seychelles’ second largest island, during the second week of his honeymoon in Seychelles. On August 2, a Frenchman was attacked at the same place and in similar circumstances.
Responding to the attacks, Alain St.Ange, CEO of the Seychelles Tourism Board, commented: “Words cannot explain the grief we feel for the deceased and their families, and we are in shock that such an incident could happen in our waters. Seychelles’ waters are among the safest on Earth and such an attack is so rare that we have to go back almost half a century to find the last such incident.
“Seychelles is taking this very seriously indeed, and all relevant agencies have been mobilized to ensure that we bring the situation quickly under control. In fact, so unused are we to this type of situation, that we have been obliged to bring in a foreign expert to guide us in our strategies to catch what we suspect may be a rogue shark and not one usually found in our waters.”
In the wake of the latest attack, certain of Praslin’s beaches have been closed for swimming and marine patrols have been mounted in the area where they will remain until the shark is caught.
The family of the deceased’s wife, Gemma Haughton, 27, also from the UK, has arrived in Seychelles today. The resident British High Commissioner, Matthew Forbes, and his wife have been spending time with them on the island of Praslin.
“I would also like to thank the British press for their factual reporting of this incident and for retaining a sense of perspective in what remains an extremely rare phenomenon in Seychelles waters,” added Alain St.Ange at a tourism trade meeting on Praslin Island itself.
The meeting of all hoteliers, boat charter operators, and dive companies was chaired by Alain St.Ange, together with Didier Dogley, the Principle Secretary of the Ministry of Environment, and Captain Valmont of the Maritime Safety Unit. The coordinating person for the meeting was Jenifer Sinon, the CEO of the Hospitality & Tourism Association.
“We needed to update the Praslin tourism operators on the situation on hand, and we wanted them all to appreciate the seriousness of the situation. They were full of questions, and they were well briefed on decisions taken following the urgent meetings called by the Minister of Home Affairs, Environment, Transport & Energy, Mr. Joel Morgan,” Alain St.Ange said.
The Tourism Board wanted to unite every tourism operator to the cause on hand and to ensure that everyone remained committed to get the rogue shark caught.
“We have now officially closed some beaches in the vicinity of the shark attack. We have put patrols on sea and on land to enforce the no swimming order. Since the first accident, we have had police representatives manning all the beaches in the area to counsel visitors and Seychellois alike not to swim in the deep waters of Anse Lazio Beach because of the accident that had taken place. Experts had said that we may not have a repeat of the incident, but even with those re-assuring words, we kept on advising people that a shark attack had taken place,” Alain St.Ange said.
The Praslin Island meeting follows the series of meetings that had been called by Minister Morgan since the accident.